Emerald City Comic Con had some amazing talent during its 2022 show, including actors like Brendan Fraser, Doug Jones, and Steve Burns. But one moment during a panel focused on What We Do in the Shadows actor Harvey Guillèn really stood out.
The panel was originally supposed to be a reunion for Guillèn and his The Magicians co-star Hale Appleman but was rescheduled as a spotlight on Guillèn at the last minute. We didn’t find out where Apple Appleman was, but it all worked out. More time to focus on Harvey!
Harvey actually didn’t believe he’d get the role of Guillermo de la Cruz in the What We Do in the Shadows FX television series. He got the audition through a family connection, and it turned out the casting director was THE casting director in Hollywood. But when he got there for his audition, he was told she was actually out of town, and his audition would be recorded for her instead of in person. That was Harvey’s first sign that the audition might not have gone well.
But he was mostly concerned about the character description in the script; Guillermo was intended to be about 20 years older than Harvey was at the time. So what could he do to make sure he got the role? His solution was right there in his bedroom closet: an ugly button-down shirt, sweater vest, and a pair of old Harry Potter glasses with the lenses popped out. But would that be good enough to age him up for the role?
Harvey wasn’t sure. It was two days before filming was set to start, and he hadn’t heard anything. But as he was lamenting this to a friend while they were in the car, Harvey started getting calls from an unknown number — he finally answered after his friend damn near yelled at him to pick up the phone. And who was on the other end of the line? Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi.
After a few seconds of trying not to fan girl, Harvey was told he would not be screening for the role of Guillermo, which is usually a standard for auditions. Harvey was immediately filled with disappointment but thanked Clement and Waititi for their time.
It turns out the reason Harvey wasn’t screened was because he was “the one.” They didn’t need to see him again, and they wanted him on set two days later without question. Needless to say, Harvey was over the moon.
Until he got to the set for costuming, he assumed he’d be given a new wardrobe for Guillermo but was told the getup he’d auditioned in was the style they were going with…Harry Potter glasses and all. Of course, Guillermo’s style changes dramatically throughout the series, and he’s currently rocking big brands like Louboutin red bottoms. Which, honestly, makes the casting story even funnier.
While it was disappointing to hear the panel had changed to feature only Harvey, there’s no way I would have asked for anything else. We all know Harvey Guillèn is a comedic master, but hearing his experiences and answering fan questions was undoubtedly the best spotlight I saw this year. Here’s to looking forward to the next ECCC show and hoping for another Harvey appearance!